CHRISTCHURCH/WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters) – The most important suspect in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques was charged with one particular count of murder on Saturday, a day right after the attack that killed 49 individuals and wounded dozens, prompting the prime minister to vow reform of the country’s gun laws.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year old Australian citizen, appeared in a Christchurch District Court and was remanded devoid of a plea till his subsequent scheduled look in the South Island city’s Higher Court on April five.
Handcuffed and wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant did not speak. His court-appointed lawyer created no application for bail or name suppression.
He was most likely to face additional charges, police mentioned.
The attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled as terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the nation raised its safety threat level to the highest.
Footage of the attack on one particular of the mosques was broadcast reside on Facebook, and a “manifesto” was also posted on the net that denounced immigrants as “invaders”.
The video footage showed a man driving to the mosque, getting into it and shooting randomly at individuals inside. Worshippers, possibly dead or wounded, lay on the floor, the video showed. Reuters was unable to confirm the footage’s authenticity and police urged individuals not to view or share it.
Police mentioned two other individuals had been in custody.
Armed police had been deployed at various areas in all cities, uncommon in a nation exactly where levels of gun violence are low.
Ardern mentioned the most important suspect was a licensed gun owner who employed 5 weapons through his rampage, which includes two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns.
“I can inform you one particular issue correct now, our gun laws will modify,” Ardern told reporters, saying a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be viewed as.
None of these arrested had a criminal history or was on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia.
There was a heavy police presence at the hospital exactly where households of the a lot more than 40 wounded had gathered. Funerals had been planned on Saturday for some of the victims, various of whom had been born overseas.
Dozens of individuals laid flowers at cordons close to each mosques in Christchurch, which is nevertheless rebuilding right after a devastating earthquake in 2011 that killed pretty much 200 individuals.
Leaders about the globe expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonisation of Muslims. [nL3N212246]
U.S. President Donald Trump, who condemned the attack as a “horrible massacre”, was praised by the accused gunman in a manifesto posted on the net as “a symbol of renewed white identity and prevalent purpose”.
Asked by a reporter in Washington if he believed white nationalism is a increasing threat about the globe, Trump mentioned: “I do not truly. I consider it is a tiny group of individuals that have extremely, extremely severe difficulties. I guess if you appear at what occurred in New Zealand probably that is a case, I do not know adequate about it however.”
Ardern, who flew to Christchurch on Saturday, mentioned she had spoken to Trump, who had asked how he could enable.
“My message was sympathy and adore for all Muslim communities,” she mentioned she told him.
Political and Islamic leaders across Asia and the Middle East voiced concern more than the targeting of Muslims.
“I blame these escalating terror attacks on the existing Islamophobia post-9/11,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan posted on social media. “1.three billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror.”
‘SHOOTING Absolutely everyone IN THE MOSQUE’
A single man who mentioned he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman burst into the mosque as worshippers had been kneeling for prayers.
“He had a significant gun…He came and began shooting everybody in the mosque, everywhere,” mentioned the man, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud. He mentioned he and other individuals escaped by breaking via a glass door.
Facebook mentioned it had deleted the gunman’s accounts “shortly right after the livestream commenced” right after getting alerted by police. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all mentioned they had taken actions to get rid of copies of the videos. [nL3N2122V2] [nL8N2125MF]
Ardern mentioned she had asked authorities to appear into no matter whether there was any activity on social media or elsewhere ahead of the attack that ought to have alerted them.
Forty-one particular individuals had been killed at the Al Noor mosque, seven at a mosque in the Linwood neighbourhood and one particular died in hospital, police mentioned.
The going to Bangladesh cricket group was arriving for prayers at one particular of the mosques when the shooting began but all members had been secure, a group coach told Reuters. [nL8N2120GG]
Muslims account for just more than 1 % of New Zealand’s population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom had been born overseas.
A site set up for victims had raised a lot more than NZ$1 million ($684,000) in significantly less than a day, and social media was flooded with messages of shock, sympathy and solidarity.
A single image shared broadly was of a cartoon kiwi, the country’s national bird, weeping. One more showed a pair of figures, one particular in a headscarf, embracing. “This is your house and you ought to have been secure here” the caption study.
(For a graphic on big mass shootings: tmsnrt.rs/2QrER0B)
More reporting by Tom Westbrook, John Mair and Swati Pandey in Sydney Writing by Lincoln Feast Editing by Andrew Heavens and Sonya Hepinstall